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INTERVIEW: ANTONIO ONGCHAP JR.
PHOTOGRAPHY: JAKE VERZOSA

You were born here, and this is your first time to visit after 21 years. How’s your homecoming so far?
It’s been a long time so it’s quite exciting to be back here. I was born in Manila but my family and I left when I was three years old!

Any fond memories of your life here?
There were a lot stray dogs! I also remember playing with my dad’s slingshot. Strange memories actually.

You just got, perhaps, the biggest break of your career portraying Psylocke in X-Men 3: The Last Stand. How did you snag the role?
Brett Rattner, the director of X-Men, chose me. Brett always hires ethnic actresses. He also signed me up for Rush Hour 2. He likes to bring a lot of color in his films.

So being Asian also has some advantages in Hollywood.
I think we have a lot more disadvantages but not in a bad way. Including Asians in films is something that Hollywood is still exploring—like how far they can go and how much the public is interested. It’s a gamble. It’s funny because some directors are willing to take that risk like Brett, but some are not.

How was it like with the X-men stars during the shoot?
It was really cool to watch Ian become Magneto. Before his takes, he would joke around and then in the next scene he would suddenly become so serious. Dania Ramirez, the girl who plays Callisto, was also really fun to work with. Everyone was so nice.

See Mei Melancon's magazine-exclusive pictures and interview in the August 2006 issue of FHM Philippines.

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